Principium Volume II, Book 10, Quote 1068 and 1070

1068. (12-14-2010) Liberty is an opportunity for doing good, but this is so only when it is also an opportunity for doing wrong. The fact that a free society will function successfully only if the individuals are in some measure guided by common values is perhaps the reason why philosophers have sometimes defined freedom as action in conformity with moral rules. But this definition of freedom is a denial of that freedom with which we are concerned. The freedom of action that is the condition of moral merit includes the freedom to act wrongly: we praise or blame only when a person has the opportunity to choose, only when his observance of a rule is not enforced but merely enjoined.

- Friedrich A. Hayek – The Constitution of Liberty, 1978


1070. (12-14-2010) There can be little question that, from the point of view of society, that art of turning one’s capacity to good account, the skill of discovering the most effective use of one’s gift, is perhaps the most useful of all; but too much resourcefulness of this kind is not uncommonly frowned upon, and an advantage gained over those of equal general capacity by a more successful exploitation of concrete circumstances is regarded as unfair (to some)ATJ….Yet there can be no doubt that the discovery of a better use of things or of one’s own capacities is one of the greatest contributions that an individual can make in our society to the welfare of his fellows and that it is by providing the maximum opportunity for this that a free society can become so much more prosperous than others. The successful use of his entrepreneurial capacity (and, in discovering the best use of our abilities, we are all entrepreneurs) is the most highly rewarded activity in a free society, while whoever leaves to others the task of finding some useful means of employing his capacities must be content with a smaller reward.

- Friedrich A. Hayek – The Constitution of Liberty, 1978

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